Grade 3 students got a hands-on lesson in paleontology by creating their own “fossils” in science class.
Boys made an imprint of a natural object such as a seashell, coral, or shark tooth in clay. Then they mixed and poured plaster over the imprint and let the plaster harden. When the clay and plaster are separated, they reveal their created mold and cast "fossils".
“They get a better idea of the fossilization process through these steps and the physical experience of doing this helps cement their learning,” Lower School Science Teacher Beth Hughes explained. “They also get a taste of the anticipation and excitement that a paleontologist might feel when revealing a fossil.”
“I thought it was pretty cool, and I was really excited when we started doing it. I’ve never had a fossil before, so I wanted to see a mini version of what they looked like,” Felix ’32 said.
“It helped me to learn how mold and cast fossils form and how they get filled in with rock and they come out just like the ones we made,” Rowan ’32 said.
Hughes said she and the students discussed similarities and differences between their human-made "fossils", and actual fossils.
“Mrs. Hughes asked me how is this related and how is it not, so I said, ‘well we made the fossils and scientists don’t make the fossils; they find them’,” Alex ’32 recalled.
“The boys did a terrific job of following directions to make a successful project and were pleasantly surprised at how their creations turned out and were pleased to share them with others,” Hughes said.
The boys are now studying different living things that have been fossilized. They will be using a guidebook to identify actual fossils for their final fossil activity.